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Poor Workers' Unions: Rebuilding Labor from Below

by Vanessa Tait

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501515,082 (4.5)None
'A critical contribution to broadening our understanding of who and what is the labor movement in the USAâ_¦. Tait captures the dynamism of alternative forms of working class organization that have long been ignored.'Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum and former assistant to AFL-CIO President John SweeneyPoor Workers' Unions explores the ongoing shift in labor activism from the shop floor to the community. Focusing on the activism of minorities, immigrants, women, and the otherwise disenfranchised workers who have long been pushed to the sidelines in labor unions, Tait advances the idea that workers are not only the employed and largely skilled laborers previously organized in unions, but also the unemployed, those in low-wage work, and those who have been forced to work for less than minimum wage through the workfare programs in every state.An insider to labor organizing and participant in the infamous Pacifica Radio labor battles, Tait argues that labor organizing doesnâ__t have to stay stuck in the dead-end legalistic and bureaucratic methods traditional unions have commonly relied on. Workers can, she proclaims, build the labor movement from below, utilizing inclusive social movement principles. In practice, that means organizing not just on the shop floor, but also around a broad range of issues, many of which are community-based, such as progressive welfare and wage policies, equal employment, and affirmative action, job creation, health and housing, and even global economic justice.… (more)
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This is a great "people's history" of US labor after 1960. Tait's many examples of community-based and rank-and-file unionism are inspiring, especially in light of the continuing decline of the largest unions in the US. ( )
  2dgirlsrule | Jul 12, 2020 |
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'A critical contribution to broadening our understanding of who and what is the labor movement in the USAâ_¦. Tait captures the dynamism of alternative forms of working class organization that have long been ignored.'Bill Fletcher, Jr., President, TransAfrica Forum and former assistant to AFL-CIO President John SweeneyPoor Workers' Unions explores the ongoing shift in labor activism from the shop floor to the community. Focusing on the activism of minorities, immigrants, women, and the otherwise disenfranchised workers who have long been pushed to the sidelines in labor unions, Tait advances the idea that workers are not only the employed and largely skilled laborers previously organized in unions, but also the unemployed, those in low-wage work, and those who have been forced to work for less than minimum wage through the workfare programs in every state.An insider to labor organizing and participant in the infamous Pacifica Radio labor battles, Tait argues that labor organizing doesnâ__t have to stay stuck in the dead-end legalistic and bureaucratic methods traditional unions have commonly relied on. Workers can, she proclaims, build the labor movement from below, utilizing inclusive social movement principles. In practice, that means organizing not just on the shop floor, but also around a broad range of issues, many of which are community-based, such as progressive welfare and wage policies, equal employment, and affirmative action, job creation, health and housing, and even global economic justice.

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